An ambitious adventure where you can freely explore the Matrix, battle machines in Bullet Time and team up with other high-kickin’ heroes across the internet – all while smouldering in shiny black leather, of course – this latest Wachowski spin-off may sound like the perfect extension of the directors’ stylish series. In reality, it’s a glitch-ridden, derivative, tiresome snooze that’s about as thrilling as the quasi-religious mumbo-jumbo that mired both sequels to the 1999 classic.
Like most traditional role-playing adventures, Matrix Online allows players to create a character from scratch and develop their skills by collecting experience points, either by winning battles or completing a series of tough challenges. However, while the Matrix movies set cinemas alight with their dazzling effects and superhuman scraps, bashing Agents in the game requires little more than choosing commands from a series of menus and rolling imaginary dice, spectacularly failing to capture any sense of the movies’ kinetic fisticuffs.
But even if you can stomach the banal battles, the game’s disgraceful bugs will alienate all but the most hardened Matrix nut; the fights often judder to a standstill if there are too many enemies on-screen, invisible walls occasionally pop up and stop you from completing missions, and even top-of-the-range PCs seem unable to cope with the game’s murky, repetitive cityscapes.
Reviewed by David McComb
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